After buying a ridiculous amount of books over the last few months I have quite a bad book hangover, or rather my purse does. It’s definitely taken a hit recently. So with more physical books to read, it seems only fair that I review the books still waiting to be bought.
The rules are simple:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books. Of course, if you do this weekly, you start where you left off the last time.
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
Beatlebone by Kevin Barry
He will spend three days alone on his island. That is all that he asks . . . John is so many miles from love now and home. This is the story of his strangest trip.
John owns a tiny island off the west coast of Ireland. Maybe it is there that he can at last outrun the shadows of his past.
The tale of a wild journey into the world and a wild journey within, Beatlebone is a mystery box of a novel. It’s a portrait of an artist at a time of creative strife. It is most of all a sad and beautiful comedy from one of the most gifted stylists now at work.
I’ve always been fascinated by The Beatles and this story about John Lennon not in the limelight but on his own private island really interests me. I’ve wanted it since it was published a few years ago and that hasn’t changed yet. KEEP
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she’d never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele — Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles — as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.
Kaysen’s memoir encompasses horror and razor-edged perception while providing vivid portraits of her fellow patients and their keepers. It is a brilliant evocation of a “parallel universe” set within the kaleidoscopically shifting landscape of the late sixties. Girl, Interrupted is a clear-sighted, unflinching document that gives lasting and specific dimension to our definitions of sane and insane, mental illness and recovery.
I had no idea this was a memoir until I started writing this post. I remember watching the film and how much it reminded me of The Bell Jar, which is one of my favourite books. Knowing it’s a memoir makes me want to read it more. KEEP
Austerlitz by W G Sebald
In 1939, five-year-old Jacques Austerlitz is sent to England on a Kindertransport and placed with foster parents. This childless couple promptly erase from the boy all knowledge of his identity and he grows up ignorant of his past. Later in life, after a career as an architectural historian, Austerlitz – having avoided all clues that might point to his origin – finds the past returning to haunt him and he is forced to explore what happened fifty years before…
This book was recommended to me about two years ago and I still haven’t picked it up. I find WWII and the social repercussions it had really interesting, but I can’t see myself reading it anytime soon. GO
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings.
Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.
I don’t remember putting this book on my TBR. I’m not sure what that says about me. Victorian traditions played a big role in my university work, particularly their morning rituals. I like the idea of communicating your emotions through flowers. KEEP
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
In 1944, a German Jewish refugee is sent to Wales to interview Rudolf Hess; in Snowdonia, a seventeen-year-old girl, the daughter of a fiercely nationalistic shepherd, dreams of the bright lights of an English city; and in a nearby POW camp, a German soldier struggles to reconcile his surrender with his sense of honour. As their lives intersect, all three will come to question where they belong and where their loyalties lie. Peter Ho Davies’ thought-provoking and profoundly moving first novel traces a perilous wartime romance as it explores the bonds of love and duty that hold us to family, country, and ultimately our fellow man. Vividly rooted in history and landscape, The Welsh Girl reminds us anew of the pervasive presence of the past, and the startling intimacy of the foreign.
I bought this book at Hay Festival so it’s safe to say I will read it eventually. I haven’t read many books set in Wales, definitely not any set in WWII. I’m interested to see the impact the war had on rural Wales. KEEP